Feb12WedFebruary 12, 2020
Without question, there has been no other Psalm that the Lord has used more to impact the lives of millions over the centuries than Psalm 23. Charles Spurgeon once said, “This the pearl of psalms whose soft and pure radiance delights every eye.” It is poetic but easy to understand. It is intimate and vast. It is strong and tender. By the grace of God, it so easily connects with our hearts on so many levels.
As we conclude our sermon series on Psalm 23 and turn to the covenants of the Old Testament this next Sunday, I’d like to revisit three major themes from this “pearl”. Overall, the psalm describes our Lord as our leader, our protector and our host.
OUR LEADER: David uses the language of “shepherd” to describe the leadership style of the Lord. Jesus also described himself this way. But let’s take this analogy beyond the pasture and into the twenty-first century. Jesus wants to personally lead you every day. His leadership is to help you experience real contentment in the midst of the difficult terrain of this world. There are moments when he may make you lie down in His promises – compel you to be still and feast upon His word. Other times, he may want to refresh your soul with “the waters” of His presence - as you obey his promptings to pray, to be silent, to sing, or to offer up words of thanksgiving. Without His personal leadership over you, it’s too easy to get caught up in the worries of the day and the fears of tomorrow. Let Him shepherd you.
OUR PROTECTOR: Because of our fallen world, the reality of Satan, our own sinful choices and the sinful choices of others, you will encounter dark valleys in life. Jesus promised his disciples, “In this world you will have tribulation (John 16:33).” You are no exception. Sometimes this valley may come under the shadow of death. Sometimes it may come because the presence of evil or the vicious attacks of enemies. But don’t be afraid. He is near to every person who has confessed Jesus as Lord. His truth and grace are sufficient to be your staff and rod. He will defend your spirit and mind. He will rescue you when His timing is right. Although the earthen valleys may be long, His active presence will see you all the way through. Valleys are not eternal.
OUR HOST: Right now, the Lord has a table, a cup and a house uniquely prepared for you. His table is experienced when you open His word with a hunger and thirst for His righteousness. As you come, you’ll find a cup overflowing with joy and peace. Drink from it deeply! As you stand from the table, the Lord may anoint your head with oil and remind you of your royal identity – an adopted child and a co-heir with Christ. As you step back onto the path, keep in mind that the Father’s house awaits you at the end of your journey. Your destination is secure. But in case you forget, the host has sent two walking companions – His mercy and His goodness. They will accompany you all the days of your life. Don’t forget to look for them.
The Lord is, without question, the greatest leader, the greatest protector and the greatest host you could possibly have. He is available to you – whether you are a faithful sheep, a young lamb or a stray. If you question that today, sink yourself deep into Psalm 23. Ponder and memorize these verses. And as you return to the Chief Shepherd, day by day, He will restore your weary soul. All for His name’s sake!